The Greenspond Letter, Volume 27 Number 1, Winter 2020

The Salvation Army in Greenspond. Photograph was taken by Leslie B. Carter around 1974.
He was the son of S /Majors William & Josephine (Burry) Carter. Both were born on Newell’s Island in the 1880s

From the Editor

Welcome to the Winter issue of The Greenspond Letter. This is a most unusual time as we are in the midst of the Covid -19 Pandemic. I wasn’t sure if I could publish this issue but thanks to Kwik Kopy and owner Tony Cox this issue has been printed. Also Canada Post in St John’s, Newfoundland, is now back in service, having been closed for two weeks due to the virus.

One of the most important rules to follow at this time is the physical distancing. Everyone should stay in their house and not visit other people. This is particularly difficult for the many senior homes across Canada. Joy (Carter) Barfoot has written a very moving story of how she communicates with her mother who is staying at Bonnews Home in Badger’s Quay. Joy and her family represent many families across the country. And we all want to thank the staff at Bonnews and Brookfield Hospital for their dedication at this time.

        Also like to thank the two regular contributors to The Greenspond Letter, Mel Baker and Craig Morrissey for excellent articles. Craig is a professional genealogist and in his research through various primary sources he comes across references to Greenspond which he shares with us. Mel Baker, historian, has written an interesting article about the Land Settlement program that the government initiated in 1939 for underemployment. Three new communities were established at Winterland, Sandringham and Point au Mal. There were people from Greenspond and area who were part of the Sandringham venture.

The photograph on the cover was taken by Leslie Carter who was visiting Newfoundland around 1974. He was special guest at the 50th Anniversary of the Salvation Army opening in Corner Brook. The first Corner Brook Corps was opened by his parents S/Majors William & Josephine (Burry) Carter who were both born on Newell’s Island in the 1880s. (Timothy Carter, Leslie Carter’s son, provided me with a copy.)


Edward Chaytor Woodland, July 19th 1933

“The grand old man of Greenspond,” Edward Chaytor Woodland of Greenspond, aged 80 years, passed to his eternal reward on Wednesday, July 19th, after two weeks of intense suffering.

He was laid to rest in the United Church cemetery in the family plot, Friday the 21st. Rev. Mr. Spurrell conducted the service which was well attended and very impressive. He took for his text the words of David: “There is but a step between me and death.”  The choir beautifully sang “Only remembered by what we have done.”

“Uncle Ned,” as he was called by all who knew him, was, as one man remarked (and voiced the sentiments of many) the grand old man of Greenspond, and he will be missed. He was connected to the Church practically all his life. He was among the early Wesleyans of this place, and for more than 50 years was a faithful follower of God, and for him death had no sting.

He leaves to mourn (but not as those without hope) a loving wife who had been his life partner for almost sixty years, four sons and five daughters, James, who resides in Perth, N.B., Charlie, who is in charge of the Salvation Army work in Grand Falls, Percy and Sam of Greenspond; Mrs. James Smith of Andover, N.B., Mrs. Willard Fulton, of Niagara Falls, U.S.A., Mrs. Thos. White, of Port Nelson, Mrs. Alex Thistle, of St. John’s, and Mrs. Capt. Geo. Carter, Greenspond; also a brother Samuel, of Doting Cove. Besides these, he leaves behind 53 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

May we all live like him, and may our end be like his.

From: The Daily News, St. John’s, Newfoundland August 1, 1933.

Love in the Time of Covid: Virtually Visiting Bonnews Lodge

by Joy Carter Barfoot

“What’s the news?  Any new cases today”? These are generally the first questions my mother will ask during our regular evening telephone conversations.  Detecting the loneliness in her voice, at some point during our chat she will ask, “When will this be over?”  

Mom, Susie Carter, is a resident of Bonnews Lodge, a long term care facility in Badger’s Quay, and like many others has had her daily routine disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The introduction of the Provincial Health State of Emergency in mid-March meant that she could no longer enjoy her daily visits with family members, take a walk around the facility, go to the family room for a change of scenery, or have her special treats brought in from home. 

While we know mom and the other residents are being cared for, it is still a very difficult time for all, and I pondered how she would cope with these changes.  These are unprecedented times. I felt, now more than ever, it was important to stay connected.  In addition to our nightly telephone calls, I knew I had to find a way to connect with mom through distance, and I was delighted to hear that staff at Bonnews Lodge was initiating virtual visits with family members For the past several weeks, we have been able to check in via facetime and chat virtually. It has been a great experience and my thanks to Gabrielle Lewis of Bonnews Lodge for providing this opportunity. It certainly helps. I was elated during one of our virtual visits when mom showed me her knitting project!  Mom hasn’t knitted in years and to see that she was knitting gave me hope that we will get through this together. Her knitted blocks have inspired me and several others in our family to start a knitting circle. Our knitting circle requires that we check in regularly with our group, complete a number of knitted squares, and take photos of our work in progress. The piece that we create as a family will be sewn together and become a memento of how we spent our time during this pandemic, physically distant but socially connected. The blanket will stay with mom and her squares will be front and center.

To the staff at Bonnews Lodge, thank you for all you are doing to keep everyone safe and connected. My hope is that residents and staff will continue to stay strong and well.  We will get through this together.

And to mom…if you are reading this (and I know you are), we love you and we want you to keep knitting! We hope to see you soon! 

Joy Barfoot

St. John’s, NL

Susie Carter in her room at Bonnews Lodge. She uses her IPad to chat with her family during the restrictions on visitors during the Covid 19 crisis.

Greenspond Far and Wide
Craig Morrissey, PLCGS
More You See Genealogy
Phone: 709-770-4563

The wonderful genealogy journey for myself and my clients allows me to access many worldwide resources. One such avenue of valuable information is the website which contains over 16,000 newspapers from the 1700s-2000s and growing on a monthly basis. During my down time I often get quite curious and will explore this website and, naturally, have been known to search for articles related to Greenspond.

With the blessings of our wonderful editor Linda, I will be providing regular submissions of newspapers outside our provincial boarders that mention the jewel of the north. This would be in addition to other genealogical records I discover whenever I am conducting research and have shared with you in past issues.

For your enjoyment, my first submissions are from The Leeds Mercury published in West Yorkshire in 1852 and the Saskatoon Daily Star of 1917. The first newspaper tells the world of the 1852 sealing disaster which caused an incredible number of sealers to seek refuge in Greenspond. Saskatoon in 1917 meanwhile touted the arrival of a new commandant of the Salvation Army, T.H. Hoddinott, who hailed from Greenspond.

Great Loss of Shipping. The Leeds Mercury, 15-May-1852, page 12. Accessed by Craig Morrissey on 09-Feb-2020
New Commandant. Saskatoon Daily Star, 15-Sep-1917, page 7. Accessed by Craig Morrissey on 09-Feb-2020

The Leeds Mercury Sat May 15, 1852
Great Loss of Shipping
St. John’s (Newfoundland)

April 23- Most disheartening intelligence has reached this place from the ice: fifty-five to sixty sealing vessels are reported to have been totally lost or abandoned between Fogo and Greenspond during the present month, in gales at E.N.E., on the 5th and 12th of April. About ninety lives are said to have been lost.

The Royal Gazette of April 20th, has the following:- “We deeply regret to learn that the apprehensions so generally entertained of the occurrence of disasters among the sealing fleet, from the late violent storms, have been but too well founded. The extent of these disasters has not yet been ascertained; enough, however, is known to warrant us in stating that the loss of property and of human life has been far greater than ever before occurred. Forty vessels are reported as lost, mostly with good trips of seals on board. Many vessels, with valuable cargoes of seals, being driven towards the breakers, were abandoned by their crews, who made for the shore. Several of these derelicts have been taken possession of by other vessels and brought in here and into Conception Bay. Portions of the crews of some of the shipwrecked and abandoned vessels have been brought in by recent arrivals, but hundreds of poor fellows who escaped to the shore are stated to be upon Pinchard’s Island and parts of the coast of Bonavista Bay.

Immediately on receipt of the distressing intelligence, the Government, upon address from the House of Assembly, authorized the dispatching of five vessels-three from this port and two from Conception Bay-with provisions, &c, on board, to search and relieve the shipwrecked people. These vessels have been for some time ready, awaiting a wind to enable them to proceed upon their mission of mercy. A vessel which arrived yesterday reports that upwards of a thousand shipwrecked sealers had reached Greenspond. From fifty to sixty vessels have arrived here, and a considerable number in Conception Bay with fair trips of seals.

New Commandant, T.H. Hoddinott
Saskatoon Daily Star Sept 15, 1917
Who Has Recently Come From Regina to Take Charge of the Salvation Army’s Work in Saskatoon.

Born in Greenspond, Newfoundland 51 years ago of English parentage, Commandant Thomas Hoddinott, recently appointed director of the Salvation Army forces in Saskatoon, has thirty-two years of active army service to his credit. His education was received in his own home town and at the age of nineteen he became attached to the Salvation Army and served for two years as a soldier in the ranks. Two years later he applied for a commission and was given special training in the army garrison at St. John’s, Nfld.

Under the leadership of Captain Collier, he spent many years in successful army work on his native island and was finally transferred to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and after a short term, to Saint John, New Brunswick. His work in the Maritime Provinces was recognized favorably by the authorities and was raised to the rank of captain and given the responsible post in Toronto, and then to Owen Sound.

Another Promotion: The rank of ensign was conferred upon Captain Hoddinott during his residence in the latter place and for two years he travelled in the interests of the Salvation Army social service work known as the “Grace Before Meet” movement. His work then consisted of travelling through Western Ontario collecting for the social service department and conducting evangelistic services on his weekend visits to the larger centres.

Fourteen years ago in Galt, Ensign Hoddinott met and married Ensign Florence M. Hollett and together they have been in successful command of many large army corps. Their united work in their chosen work has had many good results and received recognition with resulting promotions. As adjutants they were posted in Windsor and then at Toronto.

For three years they held joint commission in command of Dovercourt and Liggar Street Citadels, two of the largest army centres in that city, the former having a corps of three hundred and band of forty.

Two years ago Adjutant and Mrs. Hoddinott came to the west with headquarters and command at Regina, and in June 1917, Commissioner Sowton of Winnipeg conferred upon them the rank of Commandant and stationed them at the citadel in Saskatoon.

Commandant and Mrs. Hoddinott have eight children, five girls and three boys, all of whom are in the army ranks.

Obituary for Marion Joyce Hillier
December 6, 1929 – May 4, 2020

With great sadness we announce the passing of Marion Joyce Hillier (nee Taylor) who passed away peacefully on May 4th, 2020 at Southlake Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Joyce was born in Port de Grave, Newfoundland, on December 6th, 1929.
She was the beloved wife of William Allan Hillier who predeceased her on August 19th, 2004. She was predeceased by her father, Rev. Samuel Taylor and her mother, Martha Minnie Taylor (nee Burry), in 1931. Joyce’s infant sister, Ethel Winnifred Pearl Taylor, died in 1923 when Winnifred was just one week old. Flora Taylor (nee Bowering) later married Samuel and lovingly raised Joyce and her older sister, Gwendolyn, who passed away March 24, 2017, survived by her husband, William Hedley Bursey. Joyce will be greatly missed by her very large family, five sons: David (Karen), John, Harold (Rhonda), Lloyd (Irene) and Mervin (Linda), daughter
Barbara, 17 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren, along with many nieces, nephews and close friends. Her love for her family, especially each and every new baby as they arrived (and there were many), will be her greatest legacy.
Due to restrictions on public gatherings at this time, a private service will be arranged. The family wishes to thank the dedicated doctors, nurses and staff at Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario for their exceptional care these past few days, and the staff at The Barton Retirement Home, Newmarket for the compassionate care and comfort provided in recent years. We find comfort in knowing that Joyce now is absent from her body but forever present with her Lord.

Dr. Yong-Kee Jeon
August 18, 1929 – May 10, 2020

It is with profound sadness that we convey the peaceful passing at home of Dr. Yong-Kee Jeon, age 91. A loving husband, father, grandfather and exceptional physician, he completed his journey on a beautiful sunny Mother`s Day morning and entered into the event horizon on May 10th, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. He is predeceased by his parents, Jeon, Bong-Un (Father), Tack, Bong-Yon (Mother), Hong-Kee (Brother), Chung-Kee (Brother), Hong-Ryun (Sister) and Robert (nephew).
Left with a legacy of a compassionate life fulfilled, is his devoted, caring wife of 62 years, Suk-Gue, Hong-Suk (Sister), and sons Paul (Roberta Hynes), Peter (Lyne Denis), Albert (Elaine Bergen) and daughters, Susan (Marty Cormier) and Patricia (Greg Clooney). Granddad also leaves behind a treasure trove of lifetime PEI memories with his beloved grandchildren: grandsons, Eric, Gregory, Guilluame, Alexander and Ben and granddaughters, Ashley, Catherine, Allison and Erin. He will be dearly missed by his extended Brookfield family particularly Joann Atwood, Doris Kean, Marylyn Jacobs, Betty Spurrell, Ken Hoyles and of course his “other #1 son” Dr. Roger Butler. He also will be cherished by a large circle of lifetime family, friends and colleagues throughout the province and country.
Yong-Kee began his long and winding road in Korea in 1928, surviving childhood illnesses, enduring the Japanese occupation, and living through the Korean conflict. Despite and because of these challenges, he developed an indomitable love of life, quiet compassion for caring and near limitless patience and perseverance. He finished his medical school training at Severance Union Medical School, Seoul, South Korea in 1956; subsequently, he immigrated to New York, USA and successfully completed his internship and residency in Orthopedics. After passing his American and Canadian qualifying exams (ECMFG and LMCC), he and Suk-Gue eventually moved to Old Perlican, Trinity Bay, in 1966 (Come Home Year) to start his Newfoundland career; in later years he often reflected that “it felt like he was going home”. In 1968, he was destined to work in Brookfield Cottage Hospital, New-Wes-Valley, Bonavista Bay where he stayed for 25+ years. While there, he established a lasting legacy of compassion, caring, and medical/ surgical excellence all accented with a clinical acumen that was unmatched. He was, by all accounts an excellent mentor to the medical and nursing students, and family practice residents who happened to venture into his orbit.
Yong-Kee dedicated his life and his vast skill set to the service of the people of New- Wes- Valley, as it was his calling with happiness, joy and love in his heart. A humble man, over the course of his 45 year medical career he achieved many great accomplishments but a notable one was the 1988 Canadian Family Practitioner of the Year Award, the first time that this prestigious award had been deemed to a Newfoundland doctor.  This award best represented his special relationship and commitment to his adopted country, province and outport home, in Brookfield. His greatest honour was the renaming of the Brookfield Cottage Hospital to the Dr. Y.K. Jeon, Kittiwake Health Centre in 2015.

We will always be indebted to Dr. Roger Butler and his amazing team including Carolyn Chong (OT) and Jennifer Williams (RN), and Community Health care nurse April Adams for their superlative skills and compassionate care. A heartfelt thank you is expressed to the TLC home care group including, Amy, Imelda, Janet, Sheila, Lily, Daisy and Helen for their dedication and support. Finally, a very special thank you is gratefully sent to the people of New-Wes-Valley for providing our family with a safe, nurturing and happy environment to thrive in.

Yong Kee’s life was personified in the wisdom of Buddha who said:
“Teach this triple truth to all: a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that sustain and renew humanity”. 
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral service at this time, however, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Dr. Y K Jeon Kittiwake Health Center, c/o: or to a charity of your choice.
“Teach this triple truth to all: a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that sustain and renew humanity”.

Herring Neck Methodist Cemetery

Ethel Winifred Pearl Taylor, born Herring Neck on April 13, 1923   and died one week later on April 14 1923    

1911 Census. Greenspond

Philip Burry (born 1858) was a fisherman and farmer. He married Lucy Stratton, (born 1858). Both of Greenspond. Both Methodist. Their children included: Arthur Burry born 1884 Fisherman
Garfield Burry born 1887 was a fisherman and labourer
Minnie Burry born 1893  was a teacher with the Methodist Board of Education    
Sarah Burry born 1895 
Charlie Burry born 1897 was attending School

Forest Fires of 1961 Bonavista North Fire

The forest fires which raged throughout the Island in the summer of 1961 are remembered as especially destructive. On June 1 a fire broke out near Port Blandford and the Government immediately issued an order banning camp fires. However, the hot weather had just begun to take its toll on the Province’s forests, and by mid-June there were twelve major forest fires burning out of control.

One of these burnt a 10 km (6 mi) stretch from Mount Scio Road to Portugal Cove Road very near St. John’s, and for a while appeared to be threatening the capital, while thousands of residents of the Bonavista Peninsula were evacuated when a major fire threatened that area. The end of June brought rain, fog and a temporary breather as fires were brought under control and extinguished.

A month later, on July 27, an inferno erupted at Indian Bay near Centreville, the start of the “Bonavista North Fire,” the worst of the season. Over the next few weeks forest fires were breaking out all over the Island, at the rate of five per day. On August 1 the community of Brownsdale, Trinity Bay, began to burn. August 8 saw evacuations of Musgrave Harbour, Doating Cove and Ragged Harbour in Bonavista North. August 13 brought heavy rains but within days the Brownsdale fire was again burning out of control. On August 18 the Bonavista North fire, also resurgent, burned ten houses in Carmanville.

Meanwhile, in central Newfoundland, two fires started on August 19: one caused Glenwood to be evacuated, while the Benton fire at one time threatened Gander. About this time a new fire broke out at Dunn’s River, threatening the Fortune Bay communities of Terrenceville and Grand le Pierre. On August 23 the Provincial Government declared a state of emergency and Ottawa sent 1,000 troops to fight the Dunn’s River fire. Still, the danger did not pass until mid-September brought heavy rains. By the end of the month, all fires were under control.

The fires resulted in the Provincial Government’s expanding its Forest Service, particularly by the purchase of Canso water bombers, which had proved relatively effective after being loaned by the Government of Quebec. As with most of the disasters here chronicled the forest fires of 1961 resulted in a public outcry and a demand for immediate steps to ensure that such conflagrations should never recur. As has happened in the aftermath of other fires steps were taken to improve fire prevention and fire extinguishing institutions; however, the sought-for freedom from disaster has never been achieved.

Blueprints of Greenspond Water Supply

News from the Deaneries, Fair Island, Greenspond

The Diocesan Magazine July 1909

No doubt the Editor and many readers will be surprised to hear from this remote corner. But we have a Church congregation, and wherever a branch of the Church is, it must be progressing or decreasing; so I would like to say that although the past year was not the brightest for Fair Island, yet its people are not content to drop behind.

It must be known that Greenspond mission came very short of raising its assessment for last year, and Fair Island must take its share of the failure, as well as any other part. Still I must say that some did their best, but to balance against those, there are so many who are lacking enthusiasm in such work. In almost every place there are some who are contented to let things go with the tide.

I regret to say that we are about to lose the services of our esteemed clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Earle, who was a very energetic worker. I think the people should open their eyes and see what position they are in, and try to give more liberally to the support of the clergy.

To return to progressing matters. The church, which was getting leaky, has been given a new covering of shingles, and when it is coated on the roof; the exterior will put on a better look. The inside of the building is also in poor condition, and needs painting, which will be done during the coming summer. The funds on hand being too small to carry out this plan, a concert was got up by the Lay-reader to help the work. After a short practice, the same went off on Friday night, May 7th, and the sum of $15 was realized. Now we can see our way clear to have the painting carried into operation.

On the coming of the Teacher in September, 1908, a Sunday-school was organized.  With the help of five female teachers, the work has been successfully carried on. As the thing was a novelty, the number at first was small, but the workers persevered and now there is an enrolment of 54 children. “Such energetic workers will be rewarded in the next world, if not in this.”

Again, I must regret the loss of Mr. Earle from the mission, and sad to say that Fair Island will soon be without a Lay-reader, as the Teacher is leaving in July. May God see fit to speedily send us another energetic man in the place of Mr. Earle; also a prosperous voyage, and a turning point in the affairs of the mission, that every parishioner may give liberally to the maintenance of the pastors of the flock, without whom the flock can do but very little.

English Harbour by George Hawkins

English Harbour, or on back of the Island, as it was usually referred to was first settled in 1846 by two young men, William Marshfield and George King, from Dorset, England. Being Englishmen, it was only natural that they named the place English harbour. At first, they built only temporary houses down near the seashore. In the fall, they moved into sod huts underneath the ridge of hills, now known as King’s Hills. By 1891, English Harbour had a population of 75 and reached its peak of 96 in 1901. Around 1910 a school was built with the student enrollment of 20. In 1921, the enrollment had increased to 26 students. The names of the teachers who taught at English Harbour were Jesse Harding, Rose Woodland, Janie Wright and Gertie (Butler) Noble. The school closed in 1928 or 1929.

English Harbour was a closely knit community, everyone helped their neighbour and everyone shared what they had with one another. It was a beautiful place to live, the song birds awakened you in the morning and if the water was rough you were awakened by the roar of the sea.

Some of the family names of English Harbour were: Lovelace, Critchley, Burton, King, Blackwood, Marshfield, Jerrett, Hawkins, and Kelloway. The Marshfields left English Harbour in November 1954. In 1956 Anne (King) Blackwood, the last resident, left English Harbour. Their great grandfathers were the first settlers and it was only fitting that the Marshfields were the last to leave.

English Harbour, on Greenspond Island, photo courtesy of Gordon Jones

Greenspond Residents and the 1939 Land Settlement Program by Melvin Baker

From 1934 to 1949 Newfoundland was governed by the British-appointed Commission of Government, which consisted of three Newfoundland and three British members, all elected by the Dominions Office and presided over by the Governor also appointed by London. The Commission had full legislative and executive powers subject to the supervisory control of the British Government, the Governor-in-Commission being responsible to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. One major Commission initiative in the mid-1930s was the establishment of new agricultural settlements to diversify the Newfoundland economy by lessening the people’s dependency on the inshore fishery. Unemployed residents from urban areas and island-based outports were encouraged to move to new agricultural communities at Markland near Whitbourne, at Midland (near Pasadena), Haricot in St. Mary’s Bay, at Brown’s Arm (near the northeast shore of the mouth of the Bay of Exploits), and Lourdes on the west coast.[i] Major features of this program were communal farms and co-operative stores; the program proved highly expensive with residents still dependent on public support prompting the Commission to have it examined by British agricultural experts in 1937 who reviewed similar initiatives in Canada, the United States and Great Britain.[ii]

In 1939 the Commission implemented a new three-year plan establishing three new smaller land settlements based on settler-owned lots. These would be mixed fisherman-farmer/farmer-logger settlements and designed to address the problem of underemployment in surrounding areas and prospective settlers who were not necessarily recipients of welfare assistance, historical geographer Gordon Handcock has written in his 1970 authoritative masters’ thesis on land settlements during the Commission’s rule. [iii] One new land settlement was on the Burin Peninsula at Winterland, the second on the Eastport peninsula in Bonavista Bay at Sandringham (officially named in 1940),[iv] and third at Point au Mal near Stephenville. Sandringham was originally surveyed “to provide five acre lots for fifty families. This was changed to twenty-five families with ten acre holdings (half of those originally surveyed were found to be too rocky or unsuitable for cultivation).”  “At the outset,” Handcock observed after interviewing some of the original families who moved to Sandringham, families were

selected from applicants who had at least one able-bodied male who could participate in the arduous labour of land clearing and building a community. Sandringham was developed under a three-year plan during which time families were supported and their holdings capitalized according to their need and effort. Bonuses, in the form of seed, farming equipment and livestock, were awarded for land clearing, barn building and other activities… Most of the families (18 out of 25, or 72 percent) originally selected for Sandringham had formerly been involved with the Labrador fishery. This fishery declined rapidly during the 1930s and left many hard pressed. The remaining settlers formerly worked as carpenters or general labourers. One had actually been a farmer at Eastport. While a few of the first settlers left after a short time, these were replaced and Sandringham was formed from families drawn from ten separate communities.[i]

The selection of the Sandringham site had followed a government study of the social and economic living conditions in Bonavista Bay which showed the Eastport-Happy Adventure-Sandy Cove area to have the best excellent land available with about 800 acres.[ii] The government offered a number of incentives to encourage the men to go to build the land settlement. These were a system of cash bonuses for land clearing, construction and cultivation so that a cash influx would lead to the development of co-operative societies among the settlers.[iii]

By late October 1939, 25 men were employed clearing the forest at the proposed settlement site four miles from Eastport[iv]  and preparing to erect dwellings for 50 families to be settled there in the spring of 1940. The Department of Rural Reconstruction selected the proposed families from various localities between Cape Freels and Elliston near Cape Bonavista, the Fishermen’s Advocate. A 20-mile road was also erected from the Alexander Bay railway station to Eastport and was passable for trucks and cars giving Eastport, the newspaper observed, its “first communication by land with the railroad.”[v] Originally designed for 40 families, by April 1941 the Sandringham settlement had 25 families because of a general government reduction in expenditure on land settlements, Governor Sir Humphrey Wawlyn informed the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.[vi]

What follows below is the protest petition of seven residents of Greenspond who participated in the 1939 initial development of Sandringham only to be disappointed with their work and living conditions and the terms of employment at the land settlement. Individualism was deeply entrenched in the Newfoundland outports as the Commission found in its efforts to foster a co-operative movement.


B.V. Andrews,[ii] Assistant Magistrate, Greenspond, 15 January 1940 to Honourable Sir J.C. Puddester,[iii] Comissioner  for Public Health and Welfare

Dear Sir:

Please refer to your telegram of January 15th 1940, re Greenspond returned settlers from land settlement. Attached herewith please find their combined sworn statement on matter. This statement was carefully taken from them, eight of them who are dole recipients. I may say that the body of the statement was composed by themselves before they interviewed me and took an oath on same. I gave them a copy to send to K.M. Brown,[i]if they wished, as you agreed upon in your telegram to me. You ask me, Sir, for my opinion as to the accuracy, etc, of their statement. I really find it difficult to put in a few words [of] my opinion on the matter. I was present during some of the interviews Mr. [Whiteford] Laite[ii] had with these men. I had perused the Gorvin plan[iii] many times before that. Therefore, I had some idea of what the project meant. However, although Mr. Laite spent much time and delivered many brilliant lectures on the plan, yet I feel confident none of the settlers who signed this statement, had the slightest idea or understanding of what the plan actually meant. The idea of co-operative effort and community spirit is so foreign to their lives and minds, that the basic

co-operation and community organization, could never be understood or explained to people of their type. They are so super-individualistic in their own affairs and lives here that nothing appeals to them except an opportunity to earn CASH. Therefore, failing  to understand anything at all about the co-operative idea of the plan, they certainly did get the idea that they would earn lots of CASH at the settlement, and that in the meantime the Government would “look after” all their affairs, and they were to have a grand time. Now please understand, Sir, that I am giving you the picture which I think was in THEIR minds. With this background, and the intimate knowledge you have of the peculiarities of these people, you can understand that when they saw for themselves that they had to work co-operatively and it was explained to them what this meant in practice, etc, they had not the faith or the confidence in their ultimate independence. Their failure to understand that all this money is being spent in THEIR interest, puzzles me indeed. However, it is a fact that they do not understand the elementary idea behind the plan, and therefore it is impossible to imbue with the enthusiasm necessary. They grasped eagerly at Mr. Laite’s offer, with the hope of making lots of CASH, and without understanding at all that the whole idea was one of co-operative and community organization. It would take some drilling, in my opinion, to get them to understand that they must co-operate in order to regain their independence. This to my mind is the crux of the matter.

Re the actual accuracy of the statement they made, I am not in a position to make such comment. However, I can say confidently that the men who made this statement herewith, have not [the] slightest idea of what the plan meant, and that the idea of co-operative effort and community organization is so foreign to their minds, that it would take months of painstaking drilling to get the idea over to them. Even then, I question if they would get the enthusiasm or interest necessary to make them successful or desirable settlers.

I shall be pleased to furnish any additional information available re the matter, Sir, if you require it. However, I give you my opinion, Sir, on the matter, and trust it is of assistance.

Deposition on Oath of Returned Settlers from Eastport, Land Settlement, Statement “A” dated 13 January 1940

We, the undersigned, hereby make the following voluntary statement on oath, giving our reasons why we left land settlement at Eastport during November month 1939. We went to Eastport during the month of October 1939. We went to Eastport on false reports from Mr. Laite. Where he received his instructions we don’t know. Mr.Laite guaranteed us that our families would be well looked after in food and clothing and firing during the winter we were at Eastport. He also told us that there would be lots of other ways that we could make a dollar when we got to Eastport. When we met the other man, Mr. [W. Alec] Stentaford,[i] after we arrived at Eastport, things were changed altogether. We were to live on a dole ration all our life, so Mr. Stentaford told us. Also the man who had three or four sons had to be on the level with the man who was singlehanded and the children who would not be able to work, were not to receive any clothing. Our money paid for land clearing would be spent on fertilizers and other farm utensils. Mr. Laite, on the other hand, told us that his Bonus Money would be our own to spend as we wanted to.

Mr. Stentaford could not see how we were going to earn any money at all. He said we might earn a five dollar bill during the winter. He also said that the farm would never be our own. He said that this was the choice of the Government and him. In case of any little dissatisfaction, it was up to him to say “Go”. Mr. Laite told us that the Government would look after our produce and sell it for us. Mr. Stentaford, on the other hand, told us “NO”, and that we had to do the best we could in selling what we raised or let it rot in the cellar.

This statement was composed by ourselves, in the present of Sergeant Richards[1] as witness. We make oath and say that the above statement is a true and correct one.

STATEMENT MARKED “A” initialed by Magistrate (sgd) B.V. Andrews
STATEMENT MARKED “A” initialed by Magistrate of returned settlers from Eastport Land Settlement.

We make oath and say that that the above statement is true and correct.

(SIGNED)     Edgar Way
                    Frank Knee
                    James Granter
                    Job Burry
                   Claude Wicks (Mark)
(Mark)        William Granter (witness W. Richards)
(Mark)        Edward Crocker (witness W. Richards) 
Taken and Sworn before me at Greenspond, B.B., this Thirteenth day of January 1940, in my office in the presence of all of the above deponents. This statement was carefully composed by these men in my presence and read over by them before they signed it.

(Sgd)   B.V. Andrews
           Assistant Magistrate
Witness to the above proceedings which I certify correct (Sgd) W. Richards, Acting Sergeant

  • Gordon Handcock, “The Commission of Government’s Land Settlement Scheme in Newfoundland,” in James Hiller and Peter Neary, eds., Twentieth-Century Newfoundland: Explorations (St. John’s: Breakwater Books, 1994), 123-51. See also James Overton, “Moral Education of the Poor: Adult Education and Land Settlement Schemes in Newfoundland in the 1930s,” Newfoundland Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (1995), 250-82; and Bill O’Gorman, The Never Forgotten Days at Miller’s Passage, Sagona and Harbour Breton: The Resettlement Program of 1934-36 – from Fortune Bay to Lourdes (West Bay Centre, NL: The Author, 2006).
  • Handcock, “The Commission of Government’s Land Settlement Scheme in Newfoundland,” 125-28; Rooms Provincial Archives (RPA), GN31/3/C, Box 5, file “Land Settlement Reports by Mr. J.H. Gorvin and Dr. Mosdell,” memorandum dated 1 June 1938 by Gorvin; J. H. Gorvin, Report on Land Settlements in Newfoundland (St. John’s: Department of Agriculture and Rural Reconstruction, 1938); Daily News 3 Nov 1938; and J. A. Hanley, Second Report on the Development of Agriculture and Land Settlements in Newfoundland (St. John’s: Department of Agriculture and Rural Reconstruction, 1940).
  • W. Gordon Handcock, “The Origin and Development of Commission of Government Land Settlements in Newfoundland 1934-1969” (M.A. thesis, Memorial University, 1970), 26.
  • RPA, GN32/3/A, Box 61, file “Names for Land Settlements – 1939,” Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to Governor, Newfoundland, 6 June 1940” and Department of Home Affairs and Education memorandum 21-’40 dated 9 May 1940. According to the Daily News 28 Oct 1939, another popular proposed name had been “East Haven.”
  • See Gordon Handcock, “Eastport Peninsula: Sandringham” at
  • RPA, GN31/3/C, Box 1, file “Bonavista Bay Reconstruction,” Brian Dunfield memorandum dated 1 Mar 1937. Greenspond with 1100 people was considered a “declining settlement,” depended on “shore fishery since Labrador schooners went out,” the clothing and food problem” was “acute,” there was “much dole,” the “population tends to move away,” and there was “no land, and no possibility of local improvements. Many would be willing to move.”
  • Handcock, “The Commission of Government’s Land Settlement Scheme in Newfoundland,” 126.
  • On the history of Eastport, see Harold Squire, A Newfoundland Outport in the Making: The Early History of Eastport together with an Eye-witness Account of the Greenland Disaster (The Author, 1974).
  • Fishermen’s Advocate 27 Oct 1939.
  • RPA, GN38, Box S2-4-1, folder 4, Walwyn to Lord Cecil of Esserton, 15 Apr 1941; GN31/3/B, Box 29, file L/S9, “Report Monthly – Sandringham Land Settlement 1940,” for several 1940 reports by Land Settlement Manager A.C. Badcock; and D.B. Hynes, ed., The Eastport Peninsula: A People of the Sea and the Soil Celebrations 2000 (Eastport: Eastport Peninsula Celebrations 2000 Inc., 1999), 32-3.
  • RPA, GN38, Box S4-3-1, file 15, “Reports of Magistrates, 1936.”
  • Bernard Vincent Andrews (1913-1969), magistrate at Greenspond 1935 to 1940. See John Andrews’s article on his father in The Greenspond Letter, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Winter 2003), 12-4.
  • John Charles Puddester (1881-1947), Commissioner for Public Health and Welfare, 1934-1947.
  • Kenneth McKenzie Brown (1887-1955), President of the Fishermen’s Protective Union, see Melvin Baker, “Kenneth McKenzie Brown, O.B.E.,” Newfoundland Quarterly (Winter 2000) 34-5.
  • Whiteford Laite was a radio commentator for the Department of Rural Reconstruction promoting the co-operative movement through song and commentary. In July 1939 he was reassigned as a field worker to the land settlement program. See RPA, GN31/3/A, Box 55, file R72, Acting Director of Co-operation to Acting Secretary for Rural Reconstruction, 28 July 1939.
  • See Newfoundland Government, Papers Relating to a Long Range Reconstruction Policy in Newfoundland: Interim Report of J.H. Gorvin, C.B.E., Vol 1 (St. John’s: Long Bros, November 1938), 21-3 and 50-6. For an examination of the Gorvin plan, see Declan Robert Cullen, “What to do about Newfoundland? Colonial Reconstruction and the Commission of Government, 1933-1941” (Ph.D thesis Syracuse University, 2013), 250-82.
  • W. A. Stentaford, manager and accountant of the Sandringham land settlement. See RPA, GN31/3B, Box 34, file S/L18, “Land Settlement Staff,” Acting Secretary to Secretary for Finance, 5 Dec 1938. He previously had been employed at the Markland settlement and had been with the Department of Natural Resources since 1934.
  • William Richards (1904-1983), born at Bareneed; he later served at Harbour Grace.


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